17.12.04

Uranium making a comeback?

This article in the Denver Post indicates that the price of Uranium has been climbing recently. This has resulted in the reopening of several Uranium mines in the Paradox valley on the Colorado-Utah border. This development is disconcerting on a few fronts. As we all know, Uranium is not a safe solution to meeting our energy needs. Those who mine it lead relatively short lives as noted in this excerpt from the article "...Chadd said of 13 miners who worked on his crew in the 1970s, only two are alive" If the extraction process were the only hazard then the risk might be acceptable, but Uranium is hazardous throughout its life cycle. One needs only to look towards Three Mile Island or Chernobyl to see the dangers of its use. Wait, we're not done yet, the depleted Uranium and any materials that have come into significant contact with it need to be disposed of, but where? The Yucca mountain site still isn't ready after more than 26 years and the Hanford site is woefully contaminated.
Where do we go from here you ask, one word: renewable. We (and by we I mean the government) need to be subsidizing renewable sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels), not offering corporate welfare to the resource extraction industry. This industry has strong incentives to resist changing technology. They have invested heavily in the current infrastructure (nuclear power plants, Coal pits, gas wells) and are quite unwilling to write that off. I realize that this is just another fight against the forces of greed, but if we fail to move on this we may not have many renewable options available when we've used up all of our mineral fuels and let their byproducts contaminate our environment...

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